Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Cubs Drop Maddon's Doomed Judgment Call Protest

Cubs Manager Joe Maddon dropped his protest filed Saturday night concerning Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle's toe-tap delivery. As we wrote at the time, Chicago's protest was doomed to fail, for Maddon's assertion that HP Umpire Sam Holbrook's judgment call that Doolittle's move was not a "second step" toward home plate is not a formally reviewable offense.

Chicago's decision to drop the protest, thus, is a logical outcome meant to preempt an otherwise-inevitable MLB decision that would have denied the club's charge.

Said Maddon, "I still don't agree with the conclusion because I think it's exactly what Carl [Edwards] did, only a different version of it."

The difference, as we illustrated in a comparison of the Doolittle and Edwards deliveries as part of our initial report on the protested game, was that Doolittle's free foot "grazed" the dirt while Edwards definitively stepped with his free foot, stopping his motion, before restarting by picking up that free foot and stepping a second time to deliver the pitch.
Related PostMaddon Protests Game Over Pitcher's Toe-Tap (5/18/19).

The rule upon which Chicago's withdrawn protest was based is 5.07(a), which states: "The pitcher may not take a second step toward home plate with either foot or otherwise reset his pivot foot in his delivery of the pitch. If there is a runner, or runners, on base it is a balk under Rule 6.02(a); if the bases are unoccupied it is an illegal pitch under Rule 6.02(b)."

Said ESPN broadcaster Jessica Mendoza in comparing Edwards and Doolittle's motions: "Look at Carl Edwards, Jr. He clearly steps, places his entire foot down on the ground. This is why he was called for it as being illegal. Then Sean Doolittle last night, it's like he barely nicks the ground. Very different and that's why the umpires did not agree that it was something illegal...what is a step? Clearly Carl Edwards, Jr.—boom—planted: step. Doolittle? I mean he flicks some dirt."

Added Alex Rodriguez: "The way I came up playing the game in the big leagues: any tap is fine, and that's what Doolittle does. If you look at what Edwards does, it's a full-foot plant, and that's not legal."

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: ESPN Sunday Night Baseball discusses delivery difference (ESPN)


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